Today marks the first day that the state of Washington will permit same-sex couples to marry legally. Starting at midnight, wedding bells began ringing in ceremonies across the state. More nuptials–including some mass ceremonies held to formalize relationships that have been long established–are planned for later today.
Last Thursday, Dec. 6, was the first day that same-sex couples could apply for marriage licenses in Washington after the state’s voters passed a referendum in November. The state has a three-day waiting period between applying for a license and following through with a wedding ceremony conducted by a licensed officer.
Washington was one of four states–the others being Minnesota, Maine, and Maryland–in which gay marriage advocates won victories at the ballot box in November. Earlier this year, the state of North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment restricting the definition of marriage to a union between one man and one woman.
Photo credit: Meryl Shenker/Huffington Post